Helen Burdette ’17 Shares Her Passion for Marine Biology
Helen Burdette ’17
Ever since I was very young, I’ve had a natural curiosity for the world around me - namely, towards all animals. No matter where life has taken me, that fact has remained the same and has guided me in my decision to pursue a career in biology. After all, there’s nothing that I enjoy more in the world than learning about nature. It’s always been my dream to discover a new species or make some other breakthrough.
One of my favorite areas of biology has always been marine biology. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the National Aquarium for my senior work project. My fellow volunteers were all very kind and welcoming. As an exhibit guide, I stood in front of the displays, educating guests about the animals. Every hour or so, we’d move to a new area. At first, I was a bit nervous and felt I might be hard-pressed to learn everything I needed to know, but I underestimated myself. I already knew a good amount about most of the animals. That said, I still ended up learning a lot. There is also a significant benefit to standing outside of the exhibits for hours. Usually, as a guest at the aquarium, you will see a good amount of cool stuff. But most of the time, there are animals and behaviors that most don’t get to witness during their short visits. For example, I got to see our snakes fed and a few of our elusive smooth-sided toads. Working at the aquarium also taught me a lot about working with the public. Overall, it was an invaluable experience.
Continuing with the theme of marine science, I plan to study this fall at Eckerd College in Petersburg, Florida, where I will major in marine biology. Being on the Gulf of Mexico, Eckerd has ready access to the water and is known for its marine science program. I look forward to learning more in the years to come.